Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland was in Hamilton today to present the final list of retaliatory tariffs against United States steel, aluminum and other products. Some items will be subject to taxes of 10 or 25 percent.
Export Development Canada and the Business Development Bank of Canada have promised $1.7 billion in loans and services to assist the aluminum and steel sectors, including small- and medium-size business affected by the US tariffs. The company did not comment on how many jobs would be shifted away from the USA, but said that it would take between nine and 18 months to move production away from Wisconsin.
The tariffs will go into effect this Sunday, Canada Day, in response to tariffs levied by the U.S. administration a month ago, on June first.
Trump and Trudeau have clashed recently, with the president warning Canada will pay for it.
"That is what we are doing", said Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, making the announcement at a steel facility in Hamilton, Ontario where she was flanked by brawny workers in yellow hardhats.
"Our approach is we will not escalate, but equally we will not back down", Freeland insisted. "This is a perfectly reciprocal action".
Freeland said there was no reason for the Trump administration to escalate the trade dispute and Canada would not back down in the face of American violations of WTO and NAFTA trade rules.
Freeland said tariffs on cars would be "absolutely absurd". U.S. officials have linked the tariffs to slow progress in talks to modernise the North American Free Trade Agreement, which Mr Trump says is a disaster and must be changed. "If you want to change it you have to make serious proposals, but you don't just walk away", he said.
Several countries, including Canada, are challenging that rationale with complaints against the USA to the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
If Mr Trump steps up his attacks on Canada's economy and imposes a 25 per cent tariff on automobiles as threatened, it would lead to "carmageddon", Mr Flavio Volpe, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association, told a Commons committee hearing on Tuesday. The latter move is seen as a major threat to Canadian growth and to the North American auto sector, since USA carmakers rely heavily on supply chains that include its two neighbors.
In a separate filing, Toyota Motor Corp said imposing tariffs on the auto industry imports would "threaten USA manufacturing, jobs, exports, and economic prosperity". NAFTA negotiations are expected to move into an "intensive phase" following national elections in Mexico on Sunday.
"I don't think we'll see any reaction from the Trump administration".
The federal government also released specifics of a financial aid package for industries caught in the crossfire, including up to $2 billion in fresh funding and support for workers in Canada's steel, aluminum and manufacturing sectors.
"The prime minister and the government have been very diligent about meeting with groups that could be impacted by trade", he says, "reassuring them that in the event that there is a major impact, there will be either trade actions or other types of relief provided".
Canada's steel and aluminium industries together employed more than 33,500 workers, contributing some $9bn to the country's economy previous year.
The US is also exposed to thousands of potential job losses, as higher costs for steel and aluminium hurt US firms and trigger retaliation from Canada and elsewhere.